Theologians and scholars of the Hebrew Bible have long argued about the historicity of the Exodus, the authorship of the Torah, theodicy, and much else. But all agree that long ago, a small group of people appeared in history to declare that they had been chosen to play an extraordinary role in the world. Because of that declaration, the nations of the world would pay special attention this chosen people. The nations of the world would love them, and the nations of the world would despise them. By blessing the descendants of ancient Israel the nations of the world would be blessed. By cursing the descendants of ancient Israel, the nations of the world would be cursed. Israel—ancient and modern—has always been a small nation, but it has always been at the moral and political center of human affairs. Am Yisrael Chai—the Jewish people lives—is a fact, but what is the theological meaning of this most improbable miracle? Rabbi Meir Soloveichik of Shearith Israel and Yeshiva University’s Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought examines how Jewish history itself illustrates God’s enduring providence.

Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik

Meir Y. Soloveichik is Director of the Zahava and Moshael Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University and the Rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States. Prior to this, Rabbi Soloveichik served as Associate Rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan. Rabbi Soloveichik has lectured throughout the United States, in Europe, and in Israel to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences on topics relating to Jewish theology, bioethics, wartime ethics, and Jewish-Christian relations. His essays on these subjects have appeared in Mosaic, the Wall Street JournalCommentaryFirst Things, Azure, Tradition, and the Torah U-Madda Journal. In August 2012, he gave the invocation at the opening session of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. He is the son of Rabbi Eliyahu Soloveichik, grandson of the late Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik, and the great nephew of the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik.